Good vibes only at this weekend’s Sunset Festival

In an exclusive interview with Monaco Life, Sunset Festival co-founder Thomas Peeters shares the story of the vibrant event, which has grown from a close-knit gathering among friends to a staple feature of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend that may well welcome upwards of 7,000 guests in 2024.  

Sunset Festival is now in its 11th edition. Between 24th and 26th May, the event will be returning to its favourite beachside venue of Le Méridien Beach Plaza for three incredible nights of live music, entertainment, art and, most importantly, good vibes.  

The Sunset concept stems from Monaco-based entrepreneurs Thomas Peeters and Cédric Houdrouge, who, more than a decade ago, were searching for exciting and new alternatives to the traditional Monaco Grand Prix parties.  

“The story behind Sunset is that back in 2011, it started to become more and more difficult to attend different parties, so we decided to make our own party between our friends,” Peeters tells Monaco Life. “In a few years, we ended up with 250 friends, and this is how Sunset was born, the first-ever beach party originating from Monaco.” 

Thomas Peeters and Cédric Houdrouge. Photo credit: Supplied

Sunset offers a unique and eclectic fusion of music, art and beach party elements, positioning itself as a standout occasion during the Grand Prix . Attendees can expect a laid-back yet sophisticated atmosphere, with sets from various DJs spanning genres from electro to deep house.

Some 7,000 guests are expected at the 2024 edition and Sunset has become a firm favourite with locals as well as international visitors.  

“70% of our clientele are locals and 30% of the turnover is from the international crowd,” he reveals. “It’s a special beach festival suitable for everyone, regardless of nationality or age [and] we are very proud that the vibe has remained the same over the years.” 

An exciting addition for 2024 is ‘Casa Sunset’, a revamped restaurant space that will be offering up a South American inspired culinary experience crafted by renowned chefs Paola Segura and Yoni Gurman.  

Casa Sunset aims to enhance the festival experience by providing a no-entry-fee zone that returns to the festival’s more intimate origins as well as a dining experience that will delight food lovers. The pop-up will be open until 3am so that ‘Sunsetters’ can continue the party after the closure of the main event. 

The Casa Sunset venue is a new addition to the festival in 2024. Photo credit: Le Méridien Beach Plaza

This year, the line-up includes names such as Luciano on Friday 24th May, Carlita and Andhim on Saturday 25th May, and Pabels on Sunday 26th May.  

Peeters and Houdrouge like to put a big ticket name on the first night of the festival in order to make every day a big occasion, not just the Sunday Race Day.  

“Now we want that the Friday becomes the Saturday and the Saturday becomes the Sunday,” he says. “On Sunday, we like to put a lesser-known DJ, like Anotr a few years back when he was starting out… Now he is a world-famous DJ.”  

Indeed, Sunset has often hosted upcoming artists on the Sunday, such as Blondish back in 2014 and Bedouin in 2016, to name a few.  

“They all came through Sunset,” says Peeters.  

See more: Race to the rhythm: A guide to the best Grand Prix parties in Monaco

Art will also play a significant role at the 2024 edition and contemporary artist Richard Orlinski, known for his King Kong sculptures, will display four monumental sculptures on the beach, including a new piece created just for the event.  

“We always try to find different artists that embody the spirit of Sunset and thought it would be cool to have a Sunset King Kong,” explains Peeters.  

“Freedom is being yourself without permission” 

Sunset prides itself on creating an inclusive environment where attendees can enjoy the festivities without pretence. The festival’s ethos – encapsulated in the motto ‘Freedom is being yourself without permission’ – encourages community and self-expression. 

Sunset is also an immersive experience, featuring various performances, light shows and a spectacular fireworks display to close the event.  

“The craziest memory regarding immersive experiences was Franky Zapata flying on a flyboard, his invention. It was part of his trial flights,” reveals Peeters.  

Now, Franky Zapata is a renowned personal watercraft pilot and the founder of Zapata Racing.

For three consecutive years now, Sunset has also ventured to the Miami and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but has always preserved its Monaco essence.  

“The sky is the limit,” says Peeters.  

For more information and ticket reservations, click here


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Photo credits: Marion Butet Studio